The Groovy team has clearly been hard at work since the 1.0 release at the start of the year, and now, just in time for JavaOne, the first beta release of Groovy 1.1 is here to show off the fruits of that labor.

Checking off one item at the top of many a wish list, Groovy now plays nicely with Java 5 annotations. In case you weren’t impressed enough already with Groovy’s rockin’ Java integration abilities, Groovy has now stepped up as the lone alternative JVM language to support Java 5 annotations.

The next question, of course, is, “How’s the tool support coming along?” That story seems to be getting better all the time. What’s your editor of choice? NetBeans? Check out the stuff that Geertjan’s been up to. IntelliJ IDEA? Jetbrains says solid Groovy and Grails support is on the way. Eclipse? Yes! We’re well on the way to some much-requested code-completion. TextMate? Good for you! Groove on.

This new release also sports that black magic code wizard affectionately known as the ExpandoMetaClass. (‘Tis quite cool to see innovations that started out in Grails make their way into Groovy proper.)

Be sure to check out the release notes to see everything this release has to offer. And while you’re at it, take it for a spin!